Applying Repeating Patterns

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The rubber stamp's cousin, the pattern stamp tool, paints with a rectangular pattern tile. You can use the pattern stamp to create frames, paint wallpaper-type patterns, or retouch textured patches of grass, dirt, or sky. To switch from the rubber stamp to the pattern stamp tool, Alt-click the stamp tool icon in the toolbox or press S (or Shift+S, depending on your preferences setting for tool switches).

'J The pattern stamp, unlike the rubber stamp, doesn't require you to Alt click to set a source. Instead, you select a pattern from the Pattern drop down palette, shown in Figure 7 16. The palette displays icons representing the available patterns in the cur rent pattern preset, just as when you apply patterns using the paint bucket. (To find out how to change, load, and save presets, refer to Chapter 5.) If you pause your cursor over an icon and have tool tips turned on, Photoshop displays the pattern name.

Here's another pattern upgrade in Version 6: You now can define and save as many custom patterns as you like. To create a pattern, select a portion of the image with the rectangular marquee tool and choose Edit Define Pattern. Or, if you want to use the entire image as a pattern, you can skip the selecting step (also a new option). Note that if you do draw a selection, you must use the rectangular marquee tool — no other selection tool will do. Also, the selection cannot be feathered, smoothed, expanded, or in any other way altered. After you choose the command, you can change the name that Photoshop assigns to the pattern — Pattern 1, Pattern 2, and so on — to a name that will better help you identify the pattern later.

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Figure 7-16: Select a pattern from the drop-down palette and then click or drag with the pattern stamp tool.

Figure 7-17 shows an example of how you can apply repeating patterns. I selected the single apartment window (labeled in the figure) and chose Edit ^ Define Pattern. I then painted with the pattern stamp tool at 80 percent opacity over the horse and rider statue.

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